Whose Scalpel

Performance |2017

“Whose scalpel” is a sound performance combined with visual and 3D printed installation, realized with an application framework for medical image processing. Mixing several methods from art and science, it is an imagination of the future and presents the issues of the relationship between human and machine in a heart surgery. The concept is developed from out of three different areas the application of sound in medical science, coronary artery bypass surgery, and machine learning.The background story of the performance is based on the assumption that in the near future a surgeon works with the machine which can give advice in a surgery.

The installation is built according to performer's real heart from MRI scans and is enlarged from its actual size. It is designed to interact when the performer plugs in audio cables and bridges connections as like the method of coronary artery bypass surgery. During the performance, the story line is lead by the sound and the mixed video of medical images and live performance from the webcam. The video and the sound not only lead the story line but also present the machine which gives instruction to the performer as a physician. The patient (the heart) who (which) is operated symbolizes human’s conscious and faith. The performance brings out the question relating to the issue of the machine and human: “If machines can reason even better than human, will we as human lost some abilities and even not believe ourselves anymore?”

Fraunhofer MEVIS team of residency: Bianka Hofmann, Sabrina Haase, Alexander Koehn, David Black
Ars Electronica team of residency: Veronika Liebl, Jessica Galirow, Maria Pfeifer, Peter Freudling, Erwin Reitboeck
Technical support of medical images: Alexander Koehn
Technical support of 3D models and printing: Peter Freudling, Erwin Reitboeck, Benjamin Krux

Special thanks: Interface culture, Fabricio Lamoncha Martinez, Jie Ting Jiang, Yin-Wen Lin